Uvie Otive-Igbuzor, aka UVIBOY, is a mega talented Christian rap artist with a determination to pass across important information to his generation in a format that appeals to them. The trailblazer rap priest and Economics graduate of Baze University, Abuja is set to release a fifteen track album with his music group, ‘The Frontliners’ soon and under his own record label.
As much as it is important for any true artist to find their true calling, this new force in the music industry’s greatest challenge was telling his parents (who are both Pastors and highly principled) that he wanted to be a Rapper.
His bold and visionary approach to photography led him to partner with other photographers and videographers to open The MOOVEMENT ENT (a PHOTOGRAPHERS’ HUB)
In this interview with Omamuzo Efidhere; UVIBOY, talks about making more music, mentoring and more.
Can we meet you?
I am Uvie Paul Ogheneyoma, Otive-Igbuzor, aka UVIBOY, The Rap Priest (TRP). I was born July 30th 1995, to Dr. and Dr. (Mrs.) Otive and Ejiro Igbuzor of Emonu-Orogun in Ughelii North Local Government Area of Delta State. I have one Sister, Rukevwe (Rukky) a final year Law student.
I started my education at Ruby Model Nursery and Primary School in Maiduguri where I was born then transferred to Richway Primary School in Lagos but completed my primary education at Grace Garden International School, Abuja. I did my secondary education at the Nigeria Turkish International College (NTIC), Abuja. I currently hold a B.Sc. certificate in Economics from Baze University, Abuja. I have just completed my national Youth Service. I also hold certificates of participation in Monitoring and Evaluation, Video Editing and Animation, Website Construction, and I am a graduate of the prestigious Centre LSD Leadership School.
I am currently self-employed. I work as the MD/CEO, Heaven-Inspired Sounds (HIS) Records Limited. I am tidying up plans to build my home studio with the support of my parents. A home studio, when completed would help me create content, in addition to mentoring younger talents. I am also in the process of building a non-governmental organization, The Frontline Human Development Initiative (FHDI) committed to total youth empowerment. I founded The Frontliners, a six-person Music Band and we have several songs to our name. I have served as Office Assistant at Women Empowerment and Reproductive Health Centre (WERHC), Abuja. I was an Assistant Coordinator of The Deborah’s Kiddies Club, Abuja. In this role, I support the Coordinator to prepare venue for meetings; members for concert; participate in rehearsals; led sub-teams to practice and make presentations. I used to be an Assistant Teacher in the Children’s Class in our former Church. I am part of the Media and Technical team in Church (Palace of Priests Assembly, Abuja). I also served as intern with BGL Group, an investment company and the Centre for Leadership, Strategy and Development. Finally, I spent my one-year Youth Service under the NYSC Scheme as an Assistant Teacher in Government Secondary School, Korodoma, Central, in Nasarawa State.
I am an upcoming entrepreneur with the Solar Sister team in Church. We work to make solar lamps available, taking advantage of abundance of sunshine in Nigeria to alleviate the electricity problems plaguing our nation. During my service year, I had the opportunity to introduce secondary school students to solar as an alternative energy source under the SDG Community Development Service team. We even came up with a song on SDG (Sustainable Development Goals). I have also taken to photography in recent times and I am making some money from it.
I won the Lord of the Rings award in the University for my expert stage presence.
At what point/age did you discover that you could sing and how did you nurture it?
I discovered that I was a good rapper when I was 14 years old, although my younger sister and I used to compose songs when we were much younger.
What musical instrument do you play?
I used to play the Drums earlier but not anymore.
What was your greatest challenge at the beginning of this journey?
My greatest challenge was telling my parents that I wanted to be a Rapper. They are both Pastors and highly principled. Many people tend to dismiss rap as something unserious and secular. I had to enlighten them that RAP actually stands for Rhythm and Poetry and that one can use clean lyrics for RAP. You can never hear swear or corrupt word in my lyrics.
How were you able to handle it?
I did not handle it well at first. I hid my rapping skills from them until I summoned courage to confide in my mum. At first, she was alarmed but I promised her that my music would never bring shame to the family.
Having discovered that you could sing why not stop at being a choir member, what inspired you to take music to the next level, releasing an album?
I have never been a choir member and I actually do more of rapping than singing. What inspired me is my love for music and determination to pass across important information to my generation in a format that appeals to them.
Do you write your songs or do you have people write for you?
I write my songs.
Take us through your creative process, how does a song come to be from start to finish?
It varies! Sometimes I hear a beat and it speaks to me. I get very excited and start writing. Other times when I am trying to make a very meaningful song, I create the idea of the song and read about that idea or topic. Sometimes I write a song in a day; I could write another in a month.
How would you describe your style of music, who would you say inspires your style of music?
My style is Hip hop/Afro beats. Kirk franklin and M.I. inspire me.
Lyrically what inspires you?
My father’s books inspire me for both my motivational and gospel songs,
How many albums have you released so far? Is there anything hindering you from expressing yourself musically?
No album released but I am releasing one with my music group, ‘The Frontliners’ under my record label and there’s nothing hindering me from expressing myself.
Your new album has 15 tracks in it, what message is behind every song, which is your favourite and most difficult to compose?
Every single song in the album has a positive message. My favourite is “Holy Ghost” and the most difficult to compose was “Ready”. I started working on ‘Ready’ in 2016 and lost the lyrics three times. I finally got it done and released this year. It has a powerful message on Rapture.
What are some of the challenges you encountered in trying to release these albums?
No major challenges really.
Who were your earlier gospel music influences?
Always has been a fan of Kirk Franklin and his music. I suppose music also runs in families. My mum was a choir member and I am surrounded by Uncles and Aunties who sing. My younger Sister, Rukky, also sings.
How did your parents react to you going into music professionally?
It was not a funny thing ooo, na God. They were totally against it earlier but I have their full support now.
Do you see yourself switching from gospel to mainstream?
The goal is to push and recreate gospel to phase into mainstream music, in the process, making gospel music more accepted by the mainstream media.
Which gospel artist are you craving to work with?
Kirk franklin, Steve Crown, Frank Edwards, Tim Godfrey and Nathaniel Bassey.
So what would you say the gospel music industry is missing?
The gospel music industry is lacking unorthodox means, ways, and patterns of music making. Gospel artists do not see the need to update their style of music or explore other styles of music making.
What advice would you give to a younger artist?
Believe in God, work hard, stay true, consistent and remember that everyone is in their own time zone. Do not rush! We all have our paths.
Tell us briefly about your journey to entrepreneurship- photography, video etc?
My journey was actually an unexpected one; I never thought I was going to go into photography or cinematography. I just wanted to rap. I started getting the passion when my Mum got a classy camera so I worked towards it and started taking pictures with it.
There was a time photography didn’t have prestige, what is the situation now?
It is a whole new world of photography out there. The perspective of the public has changed a lot knowing that it is a prestigious skill and occupation that has the potential of yielding and generating lots of income.
What is the name of your outfit, how did you come up with the name?
It is a Priests Robe. I wear it because I am a Priest and Priests wear robes.
Getting money to buy equipment is usually the challenge with photographers just starting out, how did you raise money to buy your first camera?
My Mum bought a camera and I just fell in love with it.
What was it like shooting your first event?
It was a surreal experience.
Who are your core clientele, how difficult or easy, was it convincing clients of your brand?
Mostly outdoor events and birthday parties, but we have the capacity to do weddings, business events and many more.
Do you have partners and what makes you different from other photographers?
Yes we have a lot of partners. We have a team that we refer to as The MOOVEMENT ENT. It is a network of photographers and what makes us different is our versatility in terms of being able to engage in various forms of photography and cinematography.
What is trending now with photography?
What is it like running your own business, describe your typical day?
We have had our ups and downs but we choose to stay consistent and believe in ourselves. For now, no routine but it is always event filled and hectic. Sometimes, the jobs come spontaneously and we have to deliver.
Entrepreneurship has its ups and down, do you ever think of quitting?
No, we will never quit.
With the way Nigeria is structured, is there an enabling environment for entrepreneurs to flourish?
Not really, but we are getting there.
What are the most important values in business and life?
Hard work and dedication
Between your parents who would you say was more influential in shaping your life?
Both have been influential in shaping my life but in their different ways.
As the son of a founder/minister is there pressure on you as the first and only son to toe the line of ministry?
Of course but I won’t be forced into it. If I receive the call, I will answer and I am already spreading the Word of God through my music.
Are you a Christian today because you were born in church or you had a personal encounter?
I became a Christian because I was born into a church but I also had my own personal encounter.
How did you get born again?
I came from a Christian family. I found Christ through my parents.
You mentor youths and organize Christian youth programmes and camps, tell us all about this initiative?
My mum organizes camps for young people and I support. I train young Rappers to hone the skill.
Any plan of delving into politics in the future?
For now, it is a no go area, but let us see what happens in the future.
Do you have any foundation you work with right now?
My parents have the Ejiro and Otive Igbuzor Foundation and I am learning a lot. I also relate with the Michelle Melloy Foundation.
What motivates you?
Who are those you look up to for inspiration?
God, M.I, Logic (even though he is not a Christian artist) Kirk Franklin, Lacrae and Kanye West.
Which is your favourite sport?
Which is your Favourite club?
Arsenal (so painful to admit because they are messing up now LOL)
Who are those you admire in your favourite sport and why?
Christiano Ronaldo because of his Hard work, Consistency and Leadership abilities.
How would you describe your personal style?
Dope in a classy way and I also like very comfortable, not something that would make me rearrange me every time.
When you dress which image do you project?
The image of a Priest with swag.
What is one fashion item, you cannot do without?
My Gold chain.
What motto do you live by?
CHEW DEY!!!! (Even if no be today) It means no matter what, you are still gonna make it. Just keep doing what you are doing,